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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Gay protesters lobby record label
Beenie Man
Beenie Man has just scored his sixth top 20 hit in the UK
Gay rights campaigners have called on record giant EMI to cancel the contract of controversial reggae singer Beenie Man over allegedly homophobic lyrics.

The OutRage! group has written to EMI chief executive Tony Wadsworth, saying Beenie Man's song lyrics urge listeners to "shoot" and "hang" gay people.

Beenie Man is signed to EMI subsidiary Virgin in the UK and released his new album, Back To Basics, on Monday.

OutRage! has complained to police over "violent" lyrics. EMI did not comment.

Beenie Man is one of Jamaica's most successful dancehall artists, with 50 number one singles in his home country and six top 20 hits in the UK.

His latest single, King Of The Dancehall, entered the UK singles chart at number 14 on Sunday.

He calls for all homosexuals to be killed and incites his listeners to go out and murder gays and lesbians
OutRage! on Beenie Man
But in the letter, OutRage! said the artist was "profiteering from his murder music".

"Beenie Man does more than express his disapproval of homosexuality," OutRage's Peter Tatchell and Brett Lock wrote.

"He calls for all homosexuals to be killed and incites his listeners to go out and murder gays and lesbians. This goes way beyond an acceptable expression of opinion.

"Lesbian and gay people have a right to live their lives free from threats to 'execute' them."

Apology

The group said if EMI did not cancel Beenie Man's contract, they should broadcast a video apology from the singer.

Protestors at London Gay Pride 2004 with anti-Beenie Man placards
Protestors at London Gay Pride 2004 had anti-Beenie Man placards
They also want the record company to either buy the rights and remaining copies of offensive songs or donate royalties to charity.

Beenie Man issued an apology through Virgin earlier in August saying he offered his "sincerest apologies to those who might have been offended, threatened or hurt by my songs".

But OutRage! said the statement was "just an opportunistic attempt to save his career in the face of mounting worldwide protests".

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is currently looking into whether charges should be brought against Beenie Man and fellow Jamaican artists Bounty Killer and Elephant Man.

Allegations

"We are continuing to review the case, which was referred to us by the Metropolitan Police following allegations they received that a number of song lyrics contained incitement to homophobic violence," a spokeswoman told BBC News Online.

We need to be able to have a translation from somebody who we could show as an expert
Crown Prosecution Service
The CPS met the Metropolitan Police on Monday but the CPS spokeswoman said no significant progress was made or decisions taken.

"When we review a case, and when we're looking at things the police have sent us, it is quite normal for us to meet with them to discuss the matter," she said.

The CPS was still trying to get reliable translations of the lyrics, which were written in patois, the spokeswoman said.

"We did have translations passed to us by the police, but they weren't really full enough and accurate enough to enable us to advise a prosecution.

"We are simply doing what we can to find somebody who is an expert in this field. We need to be able to have a translation from somebody who we could show as an expert."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Madeleine Holt
"It may be much more than music that has to change"



SEE ALSO:
Singer sorry for 'anti-gay songs'
03 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
Concert cancelled in lyrics row
25 Jun 04  |  London
Reggae gig axed after gay protest
06 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Police study 'anti-gay' reggae claims
18 Sep 03  |  Entertainment


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